Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve



Nagarjunasagar spreads over five districts, Nalgonda, Mahaboobnagar, Kurnool, Prakasam and Guntur, in Andhra Pradesh state of India. The Krishna river flows through the Reserve over a distance of 130 km. The multipurpose reservoirs, Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar, which are important sources of irrigation and power in the State are located in the Reserve. The reservoirs and temples of Srisailam are major attraction for a number of tourists and pilgrims from all over the country and abroad.

Tiger, Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger ReserveThe area is hilly, considerably varying from plains to precipitous cliffs. High hills, deep valleys and gorges are characteristic features. More than 80 per cent of the area is gently rolling to hilly. The hill ranges contain number of plateau of which Amrabad, Srisailam, Peddacheruvu, Sivapuram, Nekkanti are note worthy.

Nagarjunasagar receives rains from South-West monsoon as well as North-East monsoon. The South-West monsoon is active from second half of June to end September. After a dry spell of one month during October, North-East monsoon becomes active.

The Wildlife is generally confined to plateaues during monsoon and in valleys during summer. The perennial water sources are generally located in the valleys and the plateaus suffer from acute scarcity for water during summer.

The River Krishna is the oldest river in the country, which has cut its basin almost 200 m deep. Many water falls such as Ethipothala, Pedda Dukudu, Gundam and Chaleswaram are amazingly beautiful.

Location of Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve :Reserve is spread over five districts of Andhra Pradesh State: Guntur, Rakasam, Kurnool,Mahboobnagar and Nalgonda. Srisailam is the main gateway tothe reserve. Nearest airport is Hyderabad, 216km (134 miles) from the reserve.

Climate of Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve : At times, winters are Bitterly cold (minimum 7°C; 45°F); summer maximum is 400C (104°F), Monsoon rains occur from June to September.

When to go (Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve ) : Winter is ideal (from November to March).

Getting to Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve :Town of Srisailam lies 190km (118 miles) from. Kurnool, 216km (134 miles) from Hyderabad and 220km (137 miles) from Guntur. Gars can be hired from Kurnool; buses from Hyderbad (6 hours); train to Marchelna.

Facilities at Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve : Forest rest house and cottages (Devasthanam) intown of Srisailam, which is a strictly vegetarian town; travellers will savour the Andhra cuisine. The Forest Department does not provide vehicles for park tours. Jeeps can be hired from commercial centres at negotiable rates. Tnepark only allows entry to visitors authot1zed by the Field Director. The reserve prohibits vehicular trafficidnlght.

Precautions :The road between Hyderabad and Srisailam remains closed to traffic overnight from 21 ;00 to 06:00, so visitors should avoid this particular route at night. Visitors are advised to check first with the authorities that .it is politjcally safe to travel:

Permits and Reservations for Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve : For permission to enter park and prior reservation of the rest house, contact: The Field Director, Proiect Tiger, Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve, SunnipentaSrisailam-5181 02.

Travel Angel Says: The National Park is roughly rectangular in shape. With a length of 23 kilometers (14miles) and a width of 8 kilometers (5 miles), its total area is 142 square kilometers (55 square miles). Dachigam was proclaimed a sanctuary in 1951, and it was upgraded to national park status in 1981.

The park consists of two sectors: Upper Dachigam, which lies in the higher reaches on the eastern side and makes up tow thirds of the entire area, and Lower Dachigam in the west. The beautiful Daghawna River flows across Lower Dachigam through a shrub-covered rocky ravine. Mulberry trees, willows and oaks are predominant in Dachigam's lower reaches, an area of thick undergrowth, while Blue Pine, juniper and birch and thinning undergrowth exists in the upper region. Several fire lines exist, and these are cleared every March, helping increase visibility of wildlife in the park.

Deers, Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger ReserveConservation History
The Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Sanctuary was notified in 1978. It was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1983. The Reserve was renamed as Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary in 1992. Before independence, the southern half of the Reserve area was under the control of the British while the northern half was controlled by the rulers of princely State of Hyderabad, who maintained it as a reserve for royal hunting.

Archeology   
This area contains ruins of the ancient Nagarjuna Viswa Vidyalayam run by the great Buddhist scholar Nagarjunacharya (150 A.D.).

The ruins of the fort of Ikshwaku Chandragupta a ruler of 3rd century B.C. are present in the area overlooking a valley called Nirjivapuram (Lifeless city). The ancient fort of Pratap Rudra a king of Kakateeya dynasty and many other forts are seen on the banks of the "Krishna". An ancient wall over a length of 105 miles constructed by the Kakateeyas is an interesting feature.

This area contains a number of geo-morphological features e.g. rock shelters and cave temples such as 1) Akka Mahadevi Bhilam, 2) Dattatreya Bhilam, 3) Umaa Maheswaram, 4) Kadalivanam, e) Palankasari.

The ancient shrines of Lord Mallikharjuna and his consort goddess "Bhramaramba" respectively contain one of the 12 Jyothirlingas and one of the eighteen Maha Shakthi peethas of the country.

Forest Types 
Southern Tropical dry mixed deciduous forest ,Hardwickia forest ,Southern thorn forest ,Southern Euphorbia scrub .

Main Species( Flora) 
Anogeissus latifolia, Cleisthanthus collinus, Terminalia spp., Pterocarpus marsupium, Hardwickia binata, Boswellia serrata, Tectona grandis, Mandelia suberora, Albizzia spp..

Main Species(Fauna) 

Mammals: Tiger, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Wild Dog, Pangolin, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Mouse Deer, Black Buck, Chinkara, Chowsinga, Mugger, Python, Cobra, Peafowl.

Special Projects    
The Andhra Pradesh State Electricity Board (APSEB) is going to provide Rs. 50 million for conservation in lieu of forest land diverted for erection of 400 KV transmission line through the Reserve.

The main components of the scheme are habitat improvement; water conservation; maintenance of buildings, roads, wireless network etc.

Documentation of ethnobotanical knowledge of the tribes by Dr. P. Ramachandra Reddy, P.G. College of Science, Hyderabad.

Ethnobotanical medical plant wealth of Nagarjunasagar by Dr. R.R. Venkata Raju, S.K. University, Anantapur.

New Initiatives

Eco-development 
Implementation of eco-development activities in forest dependent villages has bridged the gap between management and the communities. The villagers have started realizing the need for conservation of bio-diversity. They are now cooperating with the management in curbing destruction of habitat. Involvement of community in decision making is now yielding encouraging results.

Birding TourThe families dependent on commercial exploitation of fuel wood are being encouraged to take up alternative income generation activities.

Endeavor was made to improve the fodder resources by raising grass plots in the vicinity of tribal villages, to cater to their needs and to reduce the grazing pressure in the forest areas.

In order to reduce the fuel wood consumption, the non-conventional energy sources like biogas plants and solar lamps have been introduced to a limited extent. Apart from this the smokeless chullahs and portable chullahs were also provided to the villagers.

One important component of the eco-development is education and awareness. This has brought a dramatic change in the attitude of the extremists towards environment. Now they are not causing any harm to the habitat or staff.

Village Forest Protection Committees
Eco-development committees (EDCs) numbering 115, have been constituted in and around the Reserve not only to reduce the dependency of the villagers but also to check and plug all the smuggling routes in the forest. Most of the committees have already taken the conservation of the habitat as a major concern. Apart from this 85 Vanasamrakshna Samithis are functioning outside the Reserve, which in conjunction with EDCs spare no efforts to destruction of forest. With the help of these committees, protection level has increased.

Protection of tiger has received a particular boost due to EDCs. The EDCs have become mechanisms reporting of cattle kills and tiger poisoning from remote and inaccessible areas of the tiger reserve. To encourage open dialogue about cattle kills and to prevent retribution, Tiger Conservation Programme, WWF-India was instrumental in developing a package of compensation /rewards for the reporting of such kills by villagers. This has been highly useful.

Protection Squads / Patrolling
Environmental Education for a better understanding and appreciation of the Reserve is being imparted. Forest department had published brochures, pamphlets, posters, and stickers. One Environmental Education Centre is functioning at Srisailam since 1988, and attracts most of the tourists visiting Srisailam Temple. The second one at Mannanur is in the offing. The Environmental Education Centre has video and movie library. The films are screened at the Centre as well as in the adjoining villages. The Centre attracts about 50,000 people annually.

Infrastructure and Facilities 
Three Forest Rest Houses and 40 bed capacity dormitories are available for tourist occupation in this Tiger Reserve, at Srisailam, Mannanur and Nagarjunasagar. There is connection to Srisailam from Hyderabad, Vijaywada, Guntur, Kurnool, Markapur. The distance from these town to Srisailam ranges between 90 to 240 km.

Education and Awareness 
A Nature Education and Interpretation Centre has been established at Semadoh. Around 50 thousand people visit this centre annually. Two orientation centres at Akot and Harisal, and an interpretation centre at Amravati are also planned.


Best time to visit

October to June.

Transport

By Air: Hyderabad is 316 km. away.

By Rail: Hyderabad as well as Markapur (85 km. away) are connected to Srisailam.

By Road: Srisailam is 190 km. from Kurnool, 220 km. from Guntur, 470 km. from Chennai, and 85 km. from Mannanur.


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